This modern classic is even better than I remembered it being five years ago. It was one of my top five picks of 2004 but now I think it deserves a place in my Top 20 of all time. So, so good. So, so funny.
I was worried the movie might have been spoiled for me by the well publicized video of director David Russell’s verbal abuse of his actors. At the least, I thought the film might reveal a dark undercurrent to viewers aware of the tension behind the scenes, but all of the actors are such pros that there are absolutely no cracks in their performances. Whenever a particular set reminded me of the leaked video, the distraction quickly evaporated because the proceedings are just so good-natured.
Yes, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Isabelle Huppert, and early appearances by Jonah Hill and Isla Fisher are all pitch-perfect. But it is Mark Wahlberg who deserves the most recognition for the sincerity of his comedy.
I <3 Huckabees belongs to that slim genre of serious comedy that Wes Anderson seems to have cornered the market on, but unlike Anderson’s hermetically sealed constructs, Huckabees is free to breath because it does not labor under his visual idiosyncracies and mannered acting preferences.
Unencumbered by Anderson’s formalism, Russell’s ability to make such a wordy script feel positively breezy is already an impressive accomplishment, but the fact that it all looks so effortlessly done is a tribute to the fortitude and professionalism of the entire cast.